April 17, 2012

Amtrak earns TSA recognition for security

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recognized Amtrak as one of 17 rail and mass transit agencies from across the nation that earned its highest rating of "Gold Standard" on the agency's most recent Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) for their dedication to building a strong security program.

The BASE program is designed to establish a security standard for individual system security programs and assess progress. This voluntary comprehensive review of transit agency security programs focuses on multiple categories identified by the transit community as fundamentals for a sound transit security program.

They include a review of topics such as an agency's security plans, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs. The BASE assessment analyzes the security program for each transit system and identifies vulnerabilities that are addressed.

"Amtrak is a national leader in rail transportation, and I am pleased to commend them for performing at the level necessary to receive our highest rail and mass transit security rating," said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole.

Amtrak was reviewed in 2011 and attained high scores across all categories. TSA considers this caliber of performance as reaching a "Gold Standard" and recognizes Amtrak for having a strong security program. TSA continues to work with all transit agencies across the country to develop and implement robust security practices system-wide.

The BASE program was developed to increase domain awareness, enhance prevention and protection capabilities and further response preparedness of transit systems nationwide. BASE is aimed at meeting the requirements in the 9/11 Commission Act's security assessment section, which directs TSA to identify critical assets, infrastructure and systems and their vulnerabilities and assist bus and public transportation authorities to address their security programs.

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